UK APC selects four powertrain projects for $51M in funding; contributing to next-gen Ford EcoBoost 30 April 2014 UK Business Secretary Vince Cable recently announced the first four automotive technology projects to be funded by the Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC) (earlier post) with grants totaling £30.3 million (US$51 million); the projects that will help develop next-generation engines (including the Ford EcoBoost) and see Formula 1 technology applied in buses and excavators.

The jointly funded government and industry APC will invest around £1 billion (US$1.7 billion) over the next 10 years to develop, commercialize and manufacture greener and more efficient technologies for engines of vehicles of the future. The four projects are the winners of an up to £75 million competition that the Technology Strategy Board launched in partnership with the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills (BIS) and the Automotive Council in December 2013. The competition was launched to create projects that would form the initial portfolio for the APC and enable businesses to make and test low carbon technologies for engines. The four winning projects that have all received funding to improve fuel efficiency and reduce carbon emissions, are: ACTIVE - Advanced Combustion Turbocharged Inline Variable valvetrain Engine. Ford and its partners (Cambustion; Continental Automotive Trading UK; Lubricants UK; Loughborough University; Raicam Clutch Limited; Schaeffler (UK); Unipart Eberspacher Exhaust Systems; University of Bath; University of Bradford; University of Nottingham) will received a proposed £13,138,402 (US$22 million) out of a total project cost of £26,605,912 (US$45 million) to accelerate the introduction of advanced low carbon technologies into main stream vehicle applications targeting very substantial CO2 savings. The work forms part of Ford’s £100-million program to upgrade the EcoBoost engine. A key aspect of the project is to engage with the UK supply chain and this project presents an excellent opportunity for several participating UK based component and equipment supplier partners. The project will bring Ford’s Global Advanced R&D and some of Europe’s top Tier 1 suppliers to the UK to develop the technologies for this project alongside the engineers at Ford’s Dagenham and Dunton Engineering Centres and four of the country’s leading automotive research Universities. Gyrodrive Original Equipment Development. GKN Land Systems and its partners (Alexander Dennis Limited and Williams Hybrid Power Limited) will receive a £8,926,260 (US$15-million) grant as part of a £17,834,654 (US$30 million) project. Williams Hybrid Power (WHP), supported by GKN Land Systems, have developed a hybrid system to regenerate braking energy on city buses utilizing their Gyrodrive system with a high speed flywheel originally developed for Le Mans Prototypes KERS technology. To date this development work has shown the fuel savings in excess of 25% for the bus operators. In this new project WHP and GKN have joined with Alexander Dennis Limited (ADL), the UK biggest bus manufacturer, to develop a solution that will be optimized for fitment to buses as original equipment at build. This is intended to widen the potential market for the technology, generating genuine cost savings throughout the industry and giving opportunity for increased production and export success. In this project WHP will develop the Gyrodrive technology, GKN will use its manufacturing skills to develop the production systems and ADL will supply its expertise in the manufacture of buses and their knowledge of the customer base. GKN will also look to exploit the technology into its key customer markets such as off-highway machines. Frequent IntegRated Soft Stop Start Technology: FIRS3T. Cummins Gen Tech (CGT) and its partners (Castlet Limited; Cummins Engine; Cummins Turbo Tech; Dynex Semiconductor Limited; and University of Nottingham) will receive £4,942,513 (US$8.3 million) out of a total project cost of £9,872,153 (US$16.6 million) to deliver significant reductions in carbon emissions from bus engines through the development of new stop-start diesel engine technology. This will improve fuel consumption by 15-20%. The project will demonstrate a novel, cost-effective compact diesel electric propulsion system initially for bus vehicle application that fits within the current space envelope of a diesel engine. It is anticipated the propulsion system will deliver significant bus vehicle CO2 emission reduction compared to current best-in class at a negligible cost increment over current diesel variants. Cummins will build on research undertaken to date to develop, demonstrate and commercialise the propulsion system through its global network (Cummins currently has ~20% of the global bus engine market). High fuel efficiency hydraulic transmission system for earthmoving equipment JCB—the world’s third largest construction equipment manufacturer by volume—and its partner Flybrid will receive a £3,297,709 (US$5.6-million) grant as part of a £7,270,695 (US\$12.3 million) project to apply Formula 1 technology for use in excavators.

The hydraulic power delivery system on the JCB excavator will be modified and developed to be substantially more efficient. In using this new technology the machine will consume far less energy for any given operation, hence reducing the overall fuel consumption rate, the total CO2 emissions and other harmful pollutants from the equipment.

As a result the carbon footprint of all construction projects using this machinery will be substantially reduced. On average, the CO2 emissions of a single 20 tonne excavator will be reduced by an estimated 16 tonnes per year.